Tonight marks the traditional start of the second half of the saeon. Of course its not, we are well over 81 games, but teams all rest, reset rotations, call up kids over the long weekend for the second half run, and otherwise just retool. A lot is made of players post-All-Star break numbers, so this does matter.
For teams out of contention for a playoff spot (and with the 2nd WC, that includes everybody within less than 10 games of the Wild Card, they are simply playing for next season, for spots on the team. They are done with thinking October (aside from kids sports games).
For teams that are less than 10 but more than 5 games out, the next few weeks are important. Heading towards July 31the phones will be ringing, and for most clubs, selling makes sense if you are more than 5 out at that point (some argue 6 or 7 because the Cubs over-achieved in the 1st half as did Houston, teams built for 2016 and 2017. But I use 5. Otherwise you find yourself doing a Rocktober like thing and that was, statistically, impossible. By the end of July teams really look in the mirror and think about themselves this year…and next. For example, if the Rox think 2016 could be a legit team with all the young players seeing action later this year, they might hold onto an Asford. If not, you sell him and 2016 is a tryout and maybe even we get to see a hint of Zero at the end.
If you feel 2017 is a serious World Series run, you likely keep him and plan on a big contract year performance. As we are beginning to see now that the knee is sturdy and his timing is great, CarGo can win games for you with his glove, arm, and bat. I know a lot of us want to see youngsters and hype Dickerson or Blackmon. But really, can they do those three thing? Just hit…mostly. A healthy baseball tuned CarGo is a player you can make a 5-6 game difference over average players (I hate the WAR from almost everywhere because they allege no outfielder in Coors history has ever been good, but we know). Now, if you feel you can replace that with a platoon or a rising star, or get close, and there is a pitcher on the cusp of the majors who really looks like the real deal, then yes, you do that. I am not sure they are getting that type of player back.
As for Tulo, he’s staying, unless the Mets want to send us Matt Harvey. That was a quick phone call.
Others who might be playing for others will also be on display. I have to think if the Rox get a big offer for Blackmon you trade him now at his peak knowing you have some nice talent coming (Dahl and Tapia can both play center and Tapia has to be in New Britain soon). De La Rosa? The only guy to learn how to win at Coors? Again, has to be a big fat offer. My guess is that if he stays healthy and is at least 3rd starter quality, mid-2016 they give him 2 more years. He loves here, wants to win here. No reason he can’t be good in his later years, since it took him a while to get it figured out (and that folks, was playing for the Colorado Rockies, who ever heard that before).
After that not much to trade. Aside from DJ. I think he opened some eyes at the All-Star break. He hit the ball hard. This is not a typical 2nd bagger who slaps at it. Somewhere last August he found some power in his stroke. And who wouldn’t want a Gold Glove defender with years of control? Again though, he won’t be sold cheap. But I bet they get more than a few calls on Mr. All-Star. Who no one on the coverage knew about so they just skipped over it in the 1st and his second at-bat talked about his height the whole time like he was some exhibit at Barnum Bailey’s Circus. Disgusting.
So tonight, we get to see what might well be the start of the rotation order next Opening Day. De La Rosa and Bettis, and then…pray for rain.
Against him the Pads throw James Shields. Enough said. 4-2 likely outcome. Still think he should have been a Rockie. Oh well, what pitcher wants to be here, right?
Lineups Still Unannounced for some reason.